Emirates Airline says it could reduce the frequency of its flights to Nigeria and other African cities or cut routes completely if current economic and financial challenges on the continent continued.
The President of the airline, Tim Clark, announced this to reporters on the sidelines of an International Air Transport Association event in Dubai on Tuesday.
Clark said foreign airlines flying to Africa now refuel abroad because jet fuel supplies had become more expensive and scarce in some African countries.
“In certain African countries, the currencies have really gone down, so we’re reflecting on a number of these to look at where it’s just not worth us to travel”, Clark said.
He added that Emirates’ load factor – a measure of capacity utitlisation – for the rest of 2016 and 2017, would probably be in the mid-70s to low-80s in percentage terms.
Clark, however, said there would be some peaks and troughs in that time.
Emirates has started a detour to Accra, Ghana to refuel its daily Abuja-bound flight, a spokesman said last month; the airline had already cut its twice-daily flights to Lagos and Abuja to just one.
Aero and First Nation Airways had at different time suspended their scheduled services in Nigeria.
Other airlines may join as the economy bites harder and as they find it difficult to continue to maintain their aircraft and purchase aviation fuel in Nigeria at a very exorbitant rate.